Direcway - roofmount vs. tripod

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Smoky

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I am agonizing over this decision.  I would especially like to hear from those with roofmounts, especially if they also have tried a tripod so they can compare.

The pro of the roofmount for me is it is out of the way and does not take space.  The con is fear of weakening the roof, though Newmar installed a one piece fiberglass and they tell me the fiberglass alone is thick and will hold anything.

The pro of the tripod is that it is easily accessible on the ground and can also be store in the toad.  The con is that the Admiral does not want to see it either in the toad or on the ground, and it takes up space and it is accessible to theft or acts of nature.

Ron, if you are following along, the dealer gave me another week to make a decision.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Smoky said:
I am agonizing over this decision.

Smoky, it seems this was discussed in another of your threads -- guess the idea of putting holes in your roof is lingering on for you. If you can get over that hurdle, there is no question that the roof mount is the way go to. The only other better way is o have both a roof mount and tripod for backup. There will be times when you cannot see the bird from the roof position. So unless you have both, that would be a downside to the RM.

Some have actually mounted on the ladder, but as I wrote in your earlier thread, getting fully up on the roof is what you will most likely have to do -- plus mounting on the ladder itself looks ugly to me, whereas the roof mount Ron is pushing is a much cleaner install. Others have placed escape hatches in their roof beside the mount -- but as mentioned before, if the pointing places the LNB arm in your face -- that would not be a good situation.

Once parked, setting up on the roof takes far less time than the tripod. Your coach will be level when you begin setting up whereas the tripod must be retrieved from travel location, set up, and then made level - and that can be a chore depending on the ground surface you find. Having been both a Civil Engineer doing survey work and also using the dish both on a plywood base, a tripod, and now a roof mount -- there is no question that it gets "old" fast.

After the tripod is level, you must now retrieve the dish itself from storage, then place it on, and secure it to, the tripod. Bottom line here is that you roof mount is already there, it is level, and the dish is in place. You just raise it and point it. Ron will tell you he can do that in 5 minutes, but best count on a little longer. If you have only moved a short distance, or have just gone to a dump station and returned, the Skew and Elevation remain the same -- so that time can be subtracted.

OTOH, that is a bit of a plus for the tripod. If you are dry camping -- such as Quartzite, a trip to the dump station is easier w/the tripod. You just unplug the cables and drive away, whereas the roof mounted dish has to go with you and be reset on return.

Another plus for the roof mount is those situations where you may want to use the dish for short stays during travel. I'm a heavy duty Kentucky basketball fan - and I subscribe to DirecTV full court to make sure I see all the Wildcat games. As an example, on several occasions earlier in the spring during March madness, I just pulled into a rest stop, quickly raised the dish, watched the game -- then got back on the road. Another time I parked in front of my brothers place in San Jose -- set up the dish and enjoyed a game. Other times I haved done overnight or short stays at Walmart, Camping World, or other parking lots -- all are examples times when you cannot use the tripod and will wish you had a roof mount.

Eventually, if your budget would allow, you will most likely want a completely auto dish -- such as the MotoSat that a number of our members have. That one has a larger base plate so will withstand the wind a bit better and will have less tugging during set up. I hope to do this one day when my ship comes in (the one with all the bucks on board). For now, they are outrageously over priced. But if affordable to the individual, being able to push a button for a short or long stay -- then have a glass of wine while Ron climbs up on his roof in the rain at midnight to set up --- "is" cool? 8).

Smoky, if it really bothers you (and I can understand the reluctance to drill holes in the new roof), you could go with the tripod -- then add the roof mount after gaining some experience. You would then have the tripod as a backup for those times you cannot avoid that tree or whatever in your line of site. However, take if from the very first RVForum dish user that has pointed the dish for 3 1/2 years from a plywood base on the ground, to one of the original experimenters with the tripod, to now a manually raised roof mount, there is "no" question that the roof mount is the best way to go -- IMHO.
 

Ron

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But if affordable to the individual, being able to push a button for a short or long stay -- then have a glass of wine while Ron climbs up on his roof in the rain at midnight to set up --- "is" cool  .

But Bob I have never set up after dark.  We are usually off the road between 15:00 and 14:00 and never drive after dark.  So maybe I will have setup while the sun shines and will be waiting for you to arrive.  ;D ;D ;D
 

John From Detroit

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3 factors to consider

Talking with Mike Corvin at Damon customer service,,, While strolling through the woumb (As my MH would call it) I was asking about those cables labeled Satallite in my overhead.

I was told that so many inches in front of one of the vents on my roof there is a sticker, 3/4" below it is a pair of wires 12v, and a coax cable end.  That's one end of the "Antenna" connection for the sat cables.

Issue 2&3:  If you are parked in a nice shady spot.... Then your roof mount can't see the sky.. NO SIGNAL, however your tripod may be placed where it can see better.   

On the other  hand... It is easier to set up an automatic roof mount

Personally I think the best of both worlds is the way to go

1: in-motion roof mount (king dome or Ray-Sat or Moto-Sat) plus one tripod (ron's sattalite solutions, deffently Ron's)

That way you have in-motoin TV and parked TV-Sat
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Smoky

If you prefer to park in treed campgrounds? or uncomfortable mentally/physically of climbing on the roof get a tripod...if not get a roof mount. I have a roof mount & wouldn't have any other type.

Terry
At Clark Fork, ID
 

Bob Buchanan

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John In Detroit said:
That way you have in-Motown TV and parked TV-Sat

John, I believe Smoky is asking about 2Way Internet Satellite -- not TV. Once a Direcway dish is purchased, a dual TV LNB can be attached (they call it a bird on a wire) to the Direcway LN arm to receive TV as well. The good news there is that once one sets up their Internet dish, the TV LNB is right on the TV bird.

Some will find the TV bird first, then fine tune on the Internet bird. The Internet bird is harder to find and requires finer tuning, so finding the RV bird first can make the whole process go a bit faster. However, with the manual pointing techniques used today coupled with the OPI and other meters available and advances in pointing software, setting up is very easy.
 

Smoky

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OK, you guys once again have me leaning in the rooftop direction.

Bob I already have the in motion Direct TV dome mounted on the roof up front.  So I won't need anything added to the rear Direcway dish.  And it just occurred to me that I already have the Wineguard tripod and portable dish.  I bet in a pinch I can find some way to "jerry rig" the Internet dish on that tripod for when the trees are in the way.  I know you are not supposed to use that tripod for the larger Internet dish, but it is very stable and might do in a pinch.

I could always add the Direcway tripod later if needed.
 

John From Detroit

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Bob Buchanan said:
John, I believe Smoky is asking about 2Way Internet Satellite -- not TV.

I mis-typed, I meant to say In-Motion TV and Parked Internet

Ray-Sat (which is kind of pricey) says they are working on licensing that will allow them to do in-motion internet, currently they do not offer that service but .... Well... They say they are working on it

I do admit there are some interesting products out there

Now, when it comes to internet solutions... Tripod mounts are frowned upon by Hughes which is the company which actually supplies the data.  Thus when it comes to tripod mounts you really should go roof mount.  However there is one (at least one) agent out there who has found the loophole in Hugh's (And the FCC's) rules on tripod mounts.

Ron is also a member of this forum
 

Ned

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The Ray-Sat system is receive only.  It's in use in Europe on trains and uses a satellite phone for the uplink, like the KVH system sold here.  Very expensive.

Tripods aren't frowned on by Hughes, they're ignored and unsupported.  You must get your support from the dealer.  There are no "loopholes" to be found.  In fact, Starband has a fully supported mobility program for portable users.  No one has ever been able to find any FCC regulations that would apply to the portable installations.  However, Hughes does require the antenna to be at least 5' off the ground, but this is more a legal CYA than based on any evidence that the 1 watt transmitter causes any problems.
 

Karl

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The best (read "easiest") solution is obviously a Moto-Sat. Then you could be like Ned and others and push a button, kick back with your favorite beverage, and wait a few minutes while it does its' thing ;D but even that has downsides: Higher initial and monthly costs, parking concerns, and additional hardware that could fail. The rooftop mount also requires forethought about parking, but like the Moto-Sat, has the hardware and wiring already in place but requires some climbing to get it set up. Tripod setup is completely manual, but has the advantage of choice of placement rather than positioning the coach, but needs storage space and can be a pain for one person to set up, especially on windy days.

Would I use ia tripod for a one night stay? Depends on my need to get online and partially the weather. Same holds true for a rooftop mount, but I'd rather be on the ground setting up during a storm than on a slippery roof. The bottom line is that individual needs and resources vary, and there is no one best solution for everyone. The only one I wouldn't even consider is a ladder mount.
 

Tom

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Karl said:
Would I use ia tripod for a one night stay?

That sounds familiar - Chris says "you're not going to set that thing up for one night, are you?" Heck, yes  ;D

Has anyone looked at the new in-coach dishes? No need to slop around in the mud or climb on the roof in a storm to get online. No need to drill holes in the roof. Hinges and folds away into a closet when not in use. (But that's the ironing board closet.)
 

John From Detroit

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Ned said:
The Ray-Sat system is receive only.  It's in use in Europe on trains and uses a satellite phone for the uplink, like the KVH system sold here.  Very expensive.

Tripods aren't frowned on by Hughes, they're ignored and unsupported.  You must get your support from the dealer.  There are no "loopholes" to be found.  In fact, Starband has a fully supported mobility program for portable users.  No one has ever been able to find any FCC regulations that would apply to the portable installations.  However, Hughes does require the antenna to be at least 5' off the ground, but this is more a legal CYA than based on any evidence that the 1 watt transmitter causes any problems.

Actually,there is a loophole... FCC requires that sattlite ground station antennas be installed by aqualified installer, They have elminated licensing requirements in favor of industrial certification however.  They do have an exception for mobile units which requires they be mounted TO THE VEHICLE by aqualified instructor.

The reason some dealers can provide tripod mounts, which per the above,would require a certified instructor to set them up each and every time, is that they train you to "install" them and certify you.  Thus, fulfilling the requirement
 
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